+++ (BBG) The Five Most Important Moves in Xi’s Big China Cabinet Shake-Up

(Bloomberg) — China’s sweeping government restructuring
plan gives President Xi Jinping more direct control over the
levers of money and power by consolidating, creating or
eliminating dozens of agencies.
The plan presented to the National People’s Congress on
Tuesday leaves 26 cabinet-level ministries tasked with
regulating industries and initiatives at the heart of Xi’s
policy agenda. Their duties range from curbing risk in the
country’s $43 trillion banking and insurance sectors to
overseeing aid programs for the president’s Belt and Road trade-
and-infrastructure initiative.
“In the past it wasn’t clear who had ultimate
responsibility, with issue areas split between different
ministries,” said Yi Kwan Chu, a director in the China practice
at the Washington-based Albright Stonebridge Group consulting
firm. “There were too many cooks in the kitchen, creating
Here are some highlights:

Central Bank Becomes More Central

China handed its central bank powers to write rules for
much of the financial sector, while merging the China Banking
Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory
Commission. The moves create a new regulatory structure for
finance with the People’s Bank of China as its central pivot
Read More: China’s Central Bank Gains More Power in Xi’s
Regulatory Shuffle

Stronger Environmental Watchdog

The moves will see China expand its environmental ministry,
creating a new Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The new body
will absorb some roles now held by the state planner, the
National Development and Reform Commission. “This is in line
with the idea of consolidating power in one ministry for a
stronger and better coordinated environmental agenda,” said Li
Shuo, a climate policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia. More
details are needed — including the new body’s leader — before
analysts can assess policy plans.

Agency for Xi’s Pet Project

The plan combines “formerly scattered and often overlooked
units under the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs” and
creates a new body responsible for international development to
supervise China’s overseas aid efforts, said Yanmei Xie, a China
policy analyst for Gavekal Dragonomics in Beijing. That agency
will provide a bureaucratic focal point for the Belt and Road
Initiative, a massive program to build or expand roads,
railways, ports, pipelines and power plants around the globe. It
has a “mission explicitly to support China’s geopolitical
strategies, including the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,” Xie

Anti-Monopoly Regulator Empowered

The new market supervision administration appears set to be
a powerful new regulator for companies operating in China —
absorbing the State Administration for Industry and Commerce,
the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection
and Quarantine and the China Food and Drug Administration. The
changes create the country’s first specialist agency focused on
anti-monopoly issues, said David Cohen, a Beijing-based managing
editor for the China Policy consulting firm. The agency will
also oversee the State Intellectual Property Office, the focus
of a potential trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

New ‘Mega Ministry’ for Agriculture

China is building a more powerful agriculture agency —
absorbing roles held by the NDRC and the ministries of commerce,
land and water resources — as growing Chinese appetites
exacerbate historical food supply concerns. “Organizing things
around issue areas makes a lot of sense” for businesses who can
now deal with one regulatory body, said Chu, of Albright
Stonebridge. “Now, the big question is who is going to be in
charge of these new mega-ministries.” Appointees could be
announced as soon as Monday.